SC quashes Allahabad HC direction imposing blanket ban on DJ operators

By PTI
NEW DELHI: Coming to the rescue of thousands of DJ operators in Uttar Pradesh who perform at weddings and birthday parties to earn livelihood, the Supreme Court on Thursday quashed a direction of the Allahabad High Court imposing a blanket ban on operation of DJ services.

The high court ought not have passed the direction without hearing the affected parties, the apex court said.

A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari said the scope of the writ petition cannot be widened like this by the high court without any pleading or prayer for the state.

During the hearing, senior advocate S R Singh, appearing for one of the parties, said the high court passed the order in individual writ petition which could not have been converted into a Public Interest Litigation.

Singh said there were no pleadings made in the writ petition seeking relief for the entire state but the high court widened the scope and imposed a blanket ban besides issuing slew of other directions.

The bench observed that two parties were aggrieved and the high court expanded the scope to a PIL.

Advocate Dushyant Parashar, appearing for DJ association, said the blanket ban direction violates Article 16 and Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

He said the general direction given by the high court is in the teeth of last year verdict in Anuradha Bhasin case related to internet suspension in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in which it was held that Article 19(1) (g) is a Constitutional guarantee subject to reasonable restrictions and cannot be taken away.

Parashar said the general direction takes away the Constitutional guarantee enshrined in Article 19(1) (g) and Article 16 and thus amounts to blanket stay on the constitutional guarantees and is hence illegal and unconstitutional.

The high court had in August, 2019 issued a slew of directions and imposed a blanket ban on operation of DJ services, terming the noise generated by them as “unpleasant” and of “obnoxious level”.

The apex court in October 2019 stayed the high court’s direction and it had later said that applications filed by DJ operators will be considered by authorities concerned and if they are in accordance with law, permission may be granted.

Parashar had earlier told the apex court that DJ players used to make their living by offering their services during marriages, birthdays and other ceremonies but due to the blanket ban imposed by the high court, they are unable to take care of their families.

The high court order had passed the directions on the writ petition by taking into account the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, and the apex court’s direction of 2005, which had dealt with implication of noise pollution in day-to-day life of people.

“Under the Rules, 2000, no permission for DJ shall be granted by the authority for the reason that noise generated by DJ is unpleasant and obnoxious level. Even if they are operated at the minimum level of the sound it is beyond permissible limits under the Schedule of the Rules, 2000,” the high court had said in one of its directions.

The high court had directed the authorities to set up a toll-free number for citizens to make complaints with regard to playing of loudspeakers, public address systems, DJs or any musical instrument beyond the permissible limit of sound.

In October 2019, the apex court had sought response from the state government on a plea against the high court order.